OT:Echo dot

User Forum Topic
Submitted by moneymaker on January 6, 2017 - 8:07pm

Anybody have it? Wife just ordered it, so will be playing with it tomorrow when it gets here. Home automation here we go! Anybody have any interesting uses for it?

Submitted by flu on January 6, 2017 - 9:07pm.

I went with Google home and all its companion products.

Amazon did everything intentionally to make Alexa, Echo, etc not work with chromecast and other Google media services even before Google came out with competing products.. Amazon also stopped selling chromecasts a while back because it wanted to push its fire products.

Google fired back and intentionally made things incompatible with Alexa, echo, fire.

Google had a black friday sale where Google Home was $99, and $25 cash back if you ordered with a visa.

Submitted by gzz on January 6, 2017 - 9:37pm.

I can't think of anything in my home I want to automate.

There were some wifi light switches with computer times, but they had really bad reviews on Amazon and cost $30 each.

Submitted by moneymaker on January 7, 2017 - 8:52am.

Here's another thought. I have a home security system with monitored smoke detector and of course a panic button. Should i register (or is it even possible to) the door lock code with the fire department as they also do the ambulance calls if I were to push the medical or fire panic button. Mainly I'm thinking the scenario would be that we are out of town and a fire starts with the pets inside, every minute would be crucial. Kinda like the Farmers insurance commercial when the dog grabs the pizza off the stove and inadvertently turns on the stove top which then sets fire to the pizza box. Evidently a true story http://creativity-online.com/work/farmer... except it was cake not pizza.

Submitted by plm on January 7, 2017 - 11:38am.

Home automation is great with the Amazon ecosystem but it is more useful when you have more devices automated and then it gets really expensive. Have four echos to cover most living areas. I've automated the hot water recirculating pump, ecobee thermostat, entertainment system, and five lights so far but so much more to add.

Main use is still music which is much better now that Amazon removed the limitation of playing prime music from one device at a time.

Bought two Google Home's as well but really disappointed in them. Can't even tell it to play a song you uploaded to Google Music.

Really loving the hands free listening of music on demand and turning on/off lights and temp control of heat/ac. Entertainment center and hot water is nice too much not as useful.

Also you can use the echo to order some things at an additional discount which is nice since they usually do it for home automation stuff that works with Echo.

Submitted by spdrun on January 7, 2017 - 12:22pm.

An always-on omni-directional microphone in your home -- can anyone say "creepy?" I know I can.

Yeah, yeah, sure, it only responds to the keyword and forgets everything else. Riiiight.

Unless you're disabled and can't walk, I don't see the attraction.

Submitted by spdrun on January 7, 2017 - 12:32pm.

Moneymaker - is there any way to link the fire/ambulance panic buttons to an electronic deadbolt? i.e. have the act of pressing the button open the lock?

Seems much safer than giving unknown parties access to your home at any time via a code.

Submitted by moneymaker on January 7, 2017 - 1:00pm.

I have cameras so unless power outage is occurring not too concerned. However I made some inquires and found out fire department only keeps codes for multi-dwelling units (i.e. gates) and not residences, also Central monitoring does not have ability to put a code on account that can be given to emergency personnel. So guess i will have to figure something else to do. Not sure if fire department would take the time to call me from a note in the window or not. Probably not.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 7, 2017 - 1:35pm.

gzz wrote:
I can't think of anything in my home I want to automate.

I can think of everything to automate. But don't want/need voice control.
But I want to control remotely and have an auto-away feature.

As a whole, we Americans, are wasteful energy users. Automation should easily cut energy usage by 1/3. House with kids that leave everything on are energy hogs.

Submitted by CA renter on January 8, 2017 - 2:39am.

spdrun wrote:
An always-on omni-directional microphone in your home -- can anyone say "creepy?" I know I can.

Yeah, yeah, sure, it only responds to the keyword and forgets everything else. Riiiight.

Unless you're disabled and can't walk, I don't see the attraction.

No, you are not alone at all. I'm always amazed by how willing people are to put spy devices in their homes and cars, and on their bodies. If it's not connected to the internet, I can see some use for it, but the fact that all of this information can be tracked by others is beyond creepy.

They now have refrigerators that can tell you what's in your fridge. It knows what you eat/drink, how much you eat/drink, and what quantities you have in your fridge. They've been working on it since the late 90s.

http://www.electroluxgroup.com/en/a-refr...

http://www.forbes.com/sites/scottdavis/2...

And I just love how they are pushing these things so that we can "connect, engage and interact with products, brands and each other..." [from Fortune link, above]. Other than forcing consumerism down our throats, what use do we have for that?

Submitted by CA renter on January 8, 2017 - 3:11am.

moneymaker wrote:
Here's another thought. I have a home security system with monitored smoke detector and of course a panic button. Should i register (or is it even possible to) the door lock code with the fire department as they also do the ambulance calls if I were to push the medical or fire panic button. Mainly I'm thinking the scenario would be that we are out of town and a fire starts with the pets inside, every minute would be crucial. Kinda like the Farmers insurance commercial when the dog grabs the pizza off the stove and inadvertently turns on the stove top which then sets fire to the pizza box. Evidently a true story http://creativity-online.com/work/farmer... except it was cake not pizza.

MM, the fire department will get into your house if there's an emergency; they won't need a code. They might break a window or door, but if there's an actual fire or other emergency, you won't care. One of the best things you can do is let your neighbors know if you have a habit of leaving pets in the house when you're gone because emergency responders will ask neighbors, who tend to come out to gawk when they see all the lights and hear all the noise, if they know whether or not there are people or pets in the house. You might also want to let some trusted neighbors know where you, your family, and your pets tend to sleep, etc. Sometimes, they can give emergency personnel important information about handicapped residents, elderly people, children, etc., and they can help firefighters/police know where to find them.

You can buy something like this for your pets, too, but since these things can easily become outdated or inaccurate, they aren't as useful as giving information to your neighbors (pick trustworthy "Gladys Kravitz" types who are usually home and who are always paying attention to what's going on in the neighborhood -- but make sure they aren't the gossipy types who will let others know when you're out of town, because they might tell the wrong people):

https://www.amazon.com/2-Pack-Rescue-Dep...

Here's Gladys Kravitz, in case you're too young to remember this. :)

http://bewitched.wikia.com/wiki/Gladys_K...

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 8, 2017 - 11:31am.

The Samsung fridge already does that. There are also cameras that allow you to view that is inside. The screen is the family's bulletin board.

The internet of things is here to stay.

Is your car connected, yet?

Submitted by plm on January 8, 2017 - 12:08pm.

Sure it could be creepy to have microphones always on. Doesn't bother me. If Amazon adds additional skills for emergency services, I think it will go from entertainment/cool device to a life saving device. Currently you can add a skill for "I've fallen and can't get up" emergencies to send a text but it would be better to alert 911 directly.

Submitted by spdrun on January 8, 2017 - 1:12pm.

I, personally, would rather take the tiny risk of dying in the middle of my floor and getting eaten by my cat than install spyware in my home. I'm not a jittering little fraidycat.

This being said, there's no need for cloud spyware. Any device can be programmer to respond to a specific phrase (analyzed locally) and text or call for help. No need to initiate connectivity until that phrase is uttered.

Submitted by spdrun on January 8, 2017 - 1:15pm.

FlyerInHI: fortunately, disconnected cars are still easy to buy, at least used. When they're outlawed, I'll leave this c#ntery and live somewhere less developed where laws are less strictly enforced.

As far as fridge cameras and sensors, nothing an icepick won't fix. Tap. *CRACK*

Submitted by plm on January 8, 2017 - 1:21pm.

I'd rather live with spyware. The specific "Alexa" keyword is processed locally and sent to cloud if that phrase is heard so its listening 24/7 but not spying 24/7. Just sends the phrase that you say after "Alexa" to the cloud. Since Amazon allows third party services it's easier to process in the cloud rather than Amazon having to update each echo device. Preferable to do it this way instead of installing third party apps on the echos because the true worry to me would be if the firmware on the device gets hacked and then it could be spying on you 24/7.

Submitted by spdrun on January 8, 2017 - 1:33pm.

You're assuming that Bezos & Co can be trusted not to monetize conversations. It would be nice to overhear a convo about TVs and start helpfully suggesting new TVs once you log in to Amazon via the Web...

If you want spyware to keep you safe, you're just a big 'ol wuss!

Submitted by plm on January 8, 2017 - 1:44pm.

Once you start seeing targeted ads based on private conversations, it would be fairly obvious that Amazon is spying so they can't really do that. I'd worry more about the government spying.

You can decide if you want to be a wuss and have Alexa alert 911 to save your life or get eaten alive by your cat. I don't have a problem calling 911 if there is an emergency.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 8, 2017 - 2:57pm.

spdrun wrote:
You're assuming that Bezos & Co can be trusted not to monetize conversations. It would be nice to overhear a convo about TVs and start helpfully suggesting new TVs once you log in to Amazon via the Web...

If you want spyware to keep you safe, you're just a big 'ol wuss!

You have cause to worry about monetization. Cable boxes are prevented by law to track viewing habits but smart devices and Smart TVs can. That's their loophole. Read the fine print.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 8, 2017 - 5:28pm.

spdrun wrote:
FlyerInHI: fortunately, disconnected cars are still easy to buy, at least used. When they're outlawed, I'll leave this c#ntery and live somewhere less developed where laws are less strictly enforced.

As far as fridge cameras and sensors, nothing an icepick won't fix. Tap. *CRACK*

All cars and all devices will be connected, even if you don't subscribe. That's the way It's going. It's the drive to monetize. If you want convenience, you have no choice but to assimilate.

You do make good points about privacy. But the only way to resolve is for the government to step in and protect consumers. But the tech companies will argue that's that America's competitive advantage and we don't don't want to kill the golden goose.

Submitted by spdrun on January 8, 2017 - 5:50pm.

Currently, driving a used car is still legal. The right car can be nursed along for 50-60 years... When they make it illegak, it will be time to move to somewhere less reliant on tech.

As far as convenience, I don't particularly give a fuck. I'd sooner live quietly and privately in a Latin American Or South European backwater than be first in the world. Proud beta male here. Innovation is overrated.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 8, 2017 - 6:51pm.

spdrun, nursing a car along is expensive.

My friend got a 3 year lease on a compliance electric Fiat. $55 per month including tax. 10000 mile per. Practically free. That car is so cute!!! And it's connected.

Compliance cars rise to 3% next year in CA. Look for special deals in December!

Submitted by spdrun on January 8, 2017 - 7:55pm.

Also about as useful as tits on a boarhog in areas with good transit. I need the car for longer trips, not in town.

I'm handy. I can keep something like a Miata or old Mercedes going just about forever. The Mercedes will even run without a functional electrical system and is smog exempt in most of USA.

Nj also just exempted all pre 96 cars from smog... :)

Submitted by moneymaker on January 9, 2017 - 7:52am.

I found a solution to my issue although I'm not willing to make it public for security reasons. As far as tits go I'm not really sure why i have them and male mice don't, but that's another story (actually I do know the why? but just thought I'd throw that out there). Will the DOW cross 20k today? Can't believe it got within .37 points last week and didn't break through. Just how expensive is gas in TJ? Inquiring minds want to know.

Submitted by FlyerInHi on January 9, 2017 - 11:29am.

I don't care for voice control. But that's apparently what consumers want.

www.fool.com/amp/investing/2017/01/06/ce...

Submitted by spdrun on January 9, 2017 - 1:07pm.

The ironic thing is that most of the listed applications of voice control can be strictly local. Basically, all except shopping.

Submitted by ucodegen on January 9, 2017 - 8:21pm.

spdrun wrote:
The ironic thing is that most of the listed applications of voice control can be strictly local. Basically, all except shopping.

Which can result in some unexpected results:
http://www.theverge.com/2017/1/7/1420021...

Submitted by spdrun on January 9, 2017 - 9:03pm.

^^^

Yes, I heard of this little incident. Hilarious.

I hope the "victims" were allowed to return their purchases.

Submitted by Ribbles on January 10, 2017 - 8:07am.

I don't need to turn on/off lights or re-order products by voice command, or change the temperature when the thermostat is already programmed exactly the way I want it. I know when I'm out of eggs.

I'm not the paranoid type (I wouldn't be surprised to learn that I'm on at least one "dissident" list, due to online anti-government rants, and I'm okay with that), but taking "we only listen to phrases following a specific key word" at face value - coming from companies who are literally desperate to learn as much as they can about you and who have continually lied to consumers about information gathering, storage, and dissemination - seems foolhardy to me. And that's only considering the manufacturer, not hacking. No thanks.

Submitted by CA renter on January 10, 2017 - 9:08am.

Ribbles wrote:
I don't need to turn on/off lights or re-order products by voice command, or change the temperature when the thermostat is already programmed exactly the way I want it. I know when I'm out of eggs.

I'm not the paranoid type (I wouldn't be surprised to learn that I'm on at least one "dissident" list, due to online anti-government rants, and I'm okay with that), but taking "we only listen to phrases following a specific key word" at face value - coming from companies who are literally desperate to learn as much as they can about you and who have continually lied to consumers about information gathering, storage, and dissemination - seems foolhardy to me. And that's only considering the manufacturer, not hacking. No thanks.

Exactly right.

Submitted by spdrun on January 10, 2017 - 9:24am.

I don't care to know whether I'm out of eggs. Any place that I will forseeably live in the future will have a grocery or bodega within 2-3 blocks, and walking three minutes is not a hardship.

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